Have You Suffered from “Oxy D.” syndrome?

Reader Stories

By Jenecca Prevette

Growing up I often felt I had no crutch for my occasional malaprop or gaffe. I envied blondes, sort of, who could conveniently blurt out, “Oops, I guess I just had a ‘blonde moment’.”

Well, my lamenting is over.  I now have my own signature excuse for the rare blunder, that seldom misstep in my constant striving for perfection. The syndrome is coined, “Oxygen Dumb.” I learned this term reading about the effects of altitude as I made my way to base camp to attempt a life long goal…conquering the highest peak in the lower forty-eight: Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada Range in California.

I experienced Oxy D., as I call it, throughout the treacherous hike, but apparently exhibited the most obvious symptoms in the last 15 minutes of the expedition while shopping for a souvenir at the Whitney portal and gift shop just prior to my return to sea level.

Here’s how the lack of oxygen can be a high and low all in one.

As we mountaineers approached the gift shop at the end of the grueling, 22 mile, 36 hour, pain-in-the-everything journey, I decided I must invest in bragging rights…guised, of course, in a chic piece of fashion. No tacky shot class or clunky coffee mug for me. I wanted a t-shirt. And not just any t-shirt but a pricey, embroidered, forest green to compliment my complexion, shirt that was …“extra” fitted.  Finding the perfect top wasn’t easy but I eventually found one that hugged ALL the right curves.

The day after my return from topping out on Miss Whitney, I couldn’t wait to don my t-shirt and go about my day gracefully flaunting my success of traversing that behemoth piece of granite. The first parade stop was to the Adventure 16 store to return the bear canister and back pack I had rented a couple of days before. I was sure all of my “boy toy” sales associates would be waiting with breathless anticipation for my return to the store. Instead, with little fanfare, I was given my deposit and I headed out. When I got to the door a hunk of a clerk, finally, asked from what adventure I had just returned. With glee, I smugly pointed above my left bosom so he could read for himself the embroidered words. After a couple of seconds he said, “Huh, that’s cute.”

A little miffed, I wondered, “What outdoorsy stud would ever say ‘cute’ about the words that accompanied ‘Elevation 14, 497.61Feet?’” As I walked out, I looked down to see that the shirt I had bought under the influence of oxygen deprivation read, “My Mommy Climbed Mt. Whitney.”

It has been a few years since my trek and I occasionally, occasionally plead, “Oops, I guess, I just had an Oxy D. moment”.

Jenecca models her shirt.

Jenecca models her shirt.

When Jenecca Prevette isn’t promoting vital aging and brain health in Southern California she is searching for the next out-of-the-box athletic activity. This year she tried outdoor elliptical riding, bouncy boot jogging, Qi-gong, and paddle board yoga.  She’s blessed her husband, Eric, just rolls with it.

Last modified: January 6, 2014

4 Responses to :
Have You Suffered from “Oxy D.” syndrome?

  1. L. Koffler says:

    “Brain health”?

  2. Clyde Whitney says:

    Waaaay cool and great job! I was there… I saw that blank stare and the feet shuffling in that gift store! Too, too funny! Boy did we have fun on that mountain. I only wish you would have written about pitching your tent on the terra firma where real men pee and asking to for a “three-some” at midnight in the pitch black on the side of that rock at the 12,000 ft. level……cause you were scared in your own tent! You planned it, you did it, you conquered that bitch and now we’re off to big European peaks this summer! Glad you joined my crazy gang! Clyde Whitney

  3. Avril says:

    Way to go Jenecca!!! Really enjoyed your story and all the humor that came with it!!!!

  4. Barb Martin says:

    ..the key is to sleep at altitude for a couple days before attempting the one-day summit. I did it carrying a 30lb pack, full of stuff I really did not need and felt no ill effects in the last mile other than mild fatigue. Stayed only a few minutes at the summit and headed right down…

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